Shark Tank is back for season 15, and among the businesses featured in the season opener was GATSBY Chocolate. Founded by Doug and Ryan Bouton, the company sells a range of low-calorie chocolate bars that include dairy-free and gluten-free flavors. They struck a deal with Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner. As of 2023, GATSBY Chocolate is worth an estimated $3 million.
Doug and Ryan Bouton
On the show, Doug and Ryan presented an interesting take on a beloved snack item. Although their chocolates contain less sugar, they didn’t sacrifice taste for nutritional value. This resonated well with viewers who have a sweet tooth but want to maintain a healthy diet.
As a co-founder of Halo Top, Doug Bouton is no stranger to making dough in the food industry. Halo Top is a low-calorie ice cream brand that hit $250 million in annual revenue and sold for an undisclosed figure.
Previously, Doug was a lawyer and leaving the legal field was a wise career move. Flush with cash after selling Halo Top, he spent time scoping out the chocolate business.
This time, he brought his family along for the ride. One of his most trusted colleagues was his brother Ryan, who was also a big help when Doug was running Halo Top. During that time, the connections they made helped them kickstart their second business.
Founding GATSBY Chocolate
GATSBY Chocolate launched in 2022 with 10 chocolate products which all taste similar to regular chocolate but with 75% less sugar. Their ingredients are all plant-based and have little to no cocoa butter because the founders wanted to cut down on fat.
With this, the chocolate bars only contain 180 to 210 calories. The startup changed the way many consumers treated chocolates. Because of this, GATSBY Chocolate gained recognition from media outlets like Forbes as the ‘lowest calorie chocolate on the market.’
In just a year, the company put itself on the map and got through a tough screening process to get in front of the Sharks. Given how wealthy Doug is, does he even need their help? The brothers delivered a solid pitch but the Sharks didn’t like how they lost $3.5 million in 2022. They agreed to give up 20% of the brand for $250,000 in cash and a $250,000 loan.
After Shark Tank
Although the episode just aired in September 2023, the founders have noticed a big uptick in website traffic and emails from interested customers. The first 48 hours after the show is generally the toughest as Doug and Ryan only recently found out their episode would be airing.
The deal with Mark and Lori should close within the next three months. Potentially the founders could pull out of the deal, as once sales hit $50 million, Mark and Lori’s equity increases to 40%.
Note that you can’t buy directly from their website as chocolate is too expensive to ship. If you visit GatsbyChocolate.com, you can see their store locations. GATSBY is now sold in Walmart, Sprouts, Pavilions, Safeway, Albertsons, and Vons. Alternatively, you can check out their Amazon store.
GATSBY Chocolate also prides itself as the number one rated chocolate on Walmart.com, where they have thousands of five-star reviews. Currently, the business is in a strong place despite a challenging economy. It wouldn’t surprise me if GATSBY Chocolate gets acquired by a big competitor within the next two years.